Posted on December 23rd, 2004 in Uncategorized | No Comments »
About 90,000 students could be disqualified from receiving Pell Grants and other forms of federal and state financial aid under a change, scheduled to be issued on Thursday by the U.S. Education Department, in the formula the government uses to calculate a student's need for aid.
The department plans to announce in the Federal Register that it is, for the first time in a decade, updating the amount it forgives most families for their state and local tax payments when determining how much income the families have left over to pay college costs.
According to an analysis by the American Council on Education, about 1.3 million students and their families will see their eligibility for federal financial aid drop next year, when the formula change takes effect, because the new formula will show them to have more money available for college than before. The families of some of the 90,000 students disqualified from Pell Grants could also appear to be rich enough under the change, according to the council, that they will be ineligible for state and institutional aid as well.
According to the ACE's analysis, the 90,000 students will be concentrated in 21 states, including Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia. Students in two states—Connecticut and New Jersey—will actually see their grants increase.
A U.S. senator from one of those states had choice words for the formula change. "I am outraged that the Bush administration is going forward with these punitive cuts in Pell Grants," said Sen. Jon S. Corzine, the New Jersey Democrat who led an effort in the Senate to block the department from making the formula change.
"For these students who are simply working to get ahead," said Mr. Corzine, "this is a scene from 'The Grinch who stole my education.'"
Nonetheless, enjoy the holidays.